Minor League Report.

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AAA: SWB rained out

AA: Trenton rained out.

High A: Tampa (63-71) split a DH.

Reg. sched. game: Lost 4-0, getting just 2 hits. SS Diego Castillo’s 3 errors led to 3 unearned runs.

Makeup of 8/27 rainout: Won 5-3. Castillo 2 hits, RBI. 1B Steven Sensley 2 hits, 2 RBI.

Low A: Charleston (69-66) lost 8-5. LF Canaan Smith 2 hits, .306. RF Josh Stowers 2 RBI. C Eduardo Navas 3 hits, 2 RBI. 2 solo HR.

 

Prospects heading for the Arizona Fall League.

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From MLB.com

Yankees (Surprise): Daniel Bies, RHP; Glenn Otto, RHP; Donny Sands, C; Josh Stowers, OF; Brandon Wagner, 1B

Acquired from the Mariners in an offshoot of the Sonny Gray trade in January, Stowers has a chance to have four average or better tools, with his arm the lone exception. Otto has had difficulty staying healthy but can reach 97 mph and devastate hitters with his curveball when he’s at 100 percent.

McGriff elected to HOF

Fred McGriff, nicknamed the Crime Dog, was unanimously elected to the HOF by a 16-member committee last night.

McGriff, a lefty-hitting 1B, played for the Blue Jays (1986-1990), Padres (1991-1993), Braves (1993-1997), Rays (then known as the Devil Rays) (1998-2001), Cubs (2001-2002), Dodgers (2003) and back with the Devil Rays in 2004.

He started in the Yankees farm system, but in an awful trade, was sent to Toronto in December 1982 for Dale Murray. A year earlier, the Yankees traded Willie McGee to the Cardinals for Bob Sykes. Can you imagine those two on the same team with Don Mattingly and Dave Winfield?

Speaking of Mattingly, he was second in the voting with 8 of the 16 votes. You needed 12 to get in.

The “bad boys” on the ballot, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro and Albert Belle, all received 4 votes or less because of their real or alleged use of PEDs, or in the case of Belle, his prickly personality and behavior. Curt Schilling got 7 votes despite some not liking his outspokenness on certain issues.

Back to McGriff. He wound up with 493 HR (tied with Lou Gehrig on the all-time list) and would have gone over 500 if not for the 1994 strike. He led the AL in HR in 1989 and the NL in 1992. He hit 30 or more HR in a season 10x. He drove in 100 or more runs in a season 8x. His career batting average was .284 and his career OPS+ was 134 (100 is average). He was a 5x All-Star, 3x Silver Slugger winner, an All-Star game MVP, and got MVP consideration 8x, finishing in the top 10 for MVP 6x.

He hit .303 with 10 HR and 37 RBI in 50 postseason games, winning a WS ring in 1995 and playing in the 1996 WS.

His 162-game average was .284-32-102, OPS+ 134. Baseball-Reference has him ranked as the 32nd best 1B of all-time. (Mattingly is ranked 39th).



What would my offer to Judge be?

Like most fans, I was surprised that Texas went to a five year/$185MM deal with Jacob deGrom. I wasn’t surprised that deGrom, the victim of no run support with the Mets for so long, departed. He won back-to-back CYA with a total record of 21-17 despite unreal ERAs. He doesn’t even have 100 wins in his CAREER due to lack of run support. Most predictions had him leaving. But 5 years for a 34-year-old who has been hurt the last couple of seasons seemed and seems too much. Most predictions were in the 3-year range. When healthy, deGrom is one of, if not the best, pitcher in baseball. But he hasn’t been healthy lately.

Which brings me to Aaron Judge. What is he looking for? I don’t like to deal in rumors, but rumors are the Yanks’ initial updated offer is 8 years and $300MM. That is $37.5 MM a year, which would made Judge, by AAV (average annual value) the highest paid position player by $2MM more than Mike Trout. That seems like a fair deal.

But does Judge want a ninth year? Judge turns 31 next spring. It is fair to assume that after 4 or 5 years that his production would decrease. Heck, it may decrease immediately. How does he replicate 2022? So how much $$ and how many years is he looking for?

If someone (looking at YOU, San Francisco) wants to give Judge 10 years, $400MM, the Yankees probably wish Judge well. They can’t go there, especially when you have the contracts of Cole and Stanton to deal with. (I won’t even get into trying to dump Donaldson’s deal).

So, what kind of compromise could be had to keep Judge in the Bronx? Something that would be fair to both sides but take declining ability into account?

Here is what I would propose.

He becomes Yankees’ captain. I don’t know how important that would be to Judge, but to his teammates, it is like he is captain already, so no biggie there.

With the captaincy, comes a no-trade clause. Simple enough, you don’t want to trade your captain, the face of the franchise.

Ok, to the money.

First 3 years. Ages 31-33. $45MM a year. My offer is front-loaded. This enormous amount makes Judge the highest paid player in the game, at least for now, anyway.

Next 3 years. Ages 34-36. $38MM a year. As of now, that would still have his AAV higher than any position player in the game. Things could change in the future, but still…

Last 3 years. Ages 37-39. $30 MM a year. This gives the Yankees some financial flexibility to get pieces around Judge, whose numbers are sure to be significantly lower as he nears the end of his career.

This adds up to 9 years and $339MM, beating out the 8 yr/$300MM offer supposedly on the table. It still has an AAV of $37.66MM over the nine years, still higher than Trout’s, still making Judge the highest paid position player by AAV and front-loaded to a) made Judge the highest paid player in the game as of now and b) give the Yanks some breathing room at the end of the contract.

If Judge doesn’t like that deal, then as much as I want Judge to stay in NY, I would have to move on. I don’t know what Judge wants in terms of ego, years or money. I sincerely hope he stays. Him leaving would be not only a baseball but a marketing blow for the Yankees. It would be like Joe DiMaggio leaving right after WWII or Mickey Mantle leaving around 1960. Devastating.

But how much is too much? There has to be a limit. If I were Hal Steinbrenner, the proposal above is what I would come up with. I think it would be more than fair.

What do you think?

After hopefully signing Judge for that amount, I offer Carlos Rodon a 5 yr deal at $140MM. $28MM a year. I don’t know if Rodon wants $30MM a year. You may need to go 5/$160MM? But a front four of Cole, Rodon, Severino and Cortes (and hope Montas comes around) is a very strong rotation. By the way, of that front four, guess which one of the four had the highest ERA last year? It was Cole.

I also am intrigued by Bryan Reynolds of Pittsburgh asking for a trade. The Yanks do have a CF in Harrison Bader, but I would look into this. Bader or Reynolds could be moved to LF. Although better in CF, I would move Reynolds to LF. Bader is just too good defensively in CF to move him. Reynolds is a switch-hitter. Turns 28 in January. Signed through 2023, arbitration eligible in 2024, free agent 2026. So, he’s locked in for a while. The Yanks have been interested in him in the past. His contract for 2023 is only $6.75MM, which is far less than the Yanks would have to pay to bring back Andrew Benintendi, or go out and get Matasaka Yoshida, Michael Conforto or Brandon Nimmo. What would it take to get Reynolds? I offer #5 prospect Everson Pereira (who would be without a future in NY if you have a Judge/Bader/Reynolds outfield), #6 prospect Trey Sweeney (the SS would be superfluous in NY since you have Oswald Peraza, Anthony Volpe and Oswaldo Cabrera) and because you are giving up your #5 and #6 prospects, and because by losing Reynolds, Pittsburgh needs an OF (besides the prospect in Pereira), I throw Hicks into the deal and eat some of Hicks’ contract. Reynolds, by the way, has a 162-game average of .281-24-79 with an OPS+ of 127. 28, switch-hitter, my only concern is how he’d handle moving to LF in order to keep Bader in CF. But cost-wise? Cheaper than Benintendi, Yoshida, Nimmo or Conforto.

HOF Gaylord Perry passes away, age 84.

Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry, who won two CYA (one in each league) and 314 games in a 22-year career, has passed away at the age of 84.

Perry, who was often accused of throwing greaseballs or spitters, pitched for San Francisco (1962-1971) Cleveland (1972-1975), Texas (1975-1977), San Diego (1978-1979), Texas again (1980), the Yankees (1980), Atlanta (1981), Seattle (1982-1983) and Kansas City (1983). His CYA came with Cleveland in 1972 (24-16, 1.92, led AL in wins and complete games) and San Diego (1978, 21-6, 2.73, led NL in wins and winning pct.). In those seasons, he finished 6th and 8th in MVP voting.

A 5x All-Star, Perry got CYA consideration three other times, and was the runner-up in 1970 (23-13, 3.20, when he led the NL in wins, and the majors in games started, shutouts and innings pitched.) He got MVP consideration six times. He won 20 or more games in a season 5x (and 19 two other seasons), leading the league three times and pitched 300 or more innings in a season six times. He pitched 303 complete games and threw 53 shutouts. He also struck out over 3500 batters.

He was 314-265, 3.11 in his career, ERA+ 117. He was a member of the 1962 NL pennant winning Giants but didn’t pitch in the WS. In 1971, the Giants won the NL West and in the NLCS Perry started two games, going 1-1, 6.14.

His 162 games average was 15-12, 3.11.

In 1968, he thew a no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals.

He was the brother of Jim Perry, who survives Gaylord and who won 215 games and a CYA (1970 Twins) himself.

A couple other notable passings, not baseball related:

Christine McVie, 79. Although Stevie Nicks gets most of the publicity, it was Chistine, and not Stevie or Lindsay Buckingham, who was my favorite member of Fleetwood Mac. I always liked her songs the best.

John Hadl, 82. AFL/NFL QB in 1960s and 1970s, mostly with the Chargers, but who also was with the Rams, Packers and Oilers. He took the Chargers and Rams into postseason games.



Defining “Injury-Prone”

In reading some comments lately, one thing has been ticking me off. The definition of injury-prone, especially in the case of Aaron Judge, but it applies to other players as well.

It’s one thing to have aches and pains that keep you out of the lineup. Back problems for example. Constant pulled leg muscles, be it calf, groin or hamstring pulls. For pitchers, a sore shoulder or elbow. Some players are constantly on the injured list with these injuries. Heck, Mickey Mantle was injury prone.

But one thing about the criticism of Judge bothers me. Do people look at what the injury was that may have cost someone time and put that person on the injured list? Maybe it wasn’t the player’s fault?

For example, one injury that Judge suffered that cost him playing time in 2018 was when he was hit by a pitch, and it chipped a bone in his right wrist. Now I have to ask how that was Judge’s fault? But people don’t look at the source of things. They only see that the player missed significant time.

It’s one thing to be disappointed at someone who misses considerable time with various muscle pulls. It’s another thing to pin blame on someone for something totally out of his control.

Say a player gets into a car accident and the injuries from that car accident cost the player the second half a season and most of the following season. The car accident was the fault of the other driver. But years later, when the player is up for free agency, fans look at his record and seeing the lack of games, criticize him for being “injury-prone”. The car accident wasn’t his fault.

Context.

Now maybe in the future, Judge will be injury prone. We don’t know. But to hold that 2018 injury against him now and use that as a basis for calling him injury prone, is totally wrong.

Once again, context.

Judge wins AL MVP overwhelmingly.

Over the past few weeks, I was getting a bit ticked at people saying that Shohei Ohtani deserved the MVP over Aaron Judge. For one thing, Ohtani’s Angels finished 33 games behind Houston. It reminded me of what happened when Ralph Kiner went into Branch Rickey’s office asking for a raise. Rickey replied to the future Hall-of-Famer, “We finished last with you, we can finish last without you!”

Taking nothing away from Ohtani or Kiner, but Ohtani didn’t play a meaningful game since what, mid-June? Meanwhile Judge carried his team, keeping them afloat as a 15 1/2 game lead shrunk to 3 1/2. I read something that from the All-Star Game until the end of the season, Judge, who was hitting a respectable .284 at the All-Star break, hit .349 the rest of the way. The rest of the Yankees hit .223. Now THAT is valuable. THAT is carrying a team. Without that, the Yankees may have suffered the worst collapse ever.

To those who say that what Ohtani does hasn’t been done since Babe Ruth, I get it. And I get that he does it so well. But just because he is a unicorn, doing what no one else does, is that alone reason to give him the award? For if that is the case, just retire the award from now on. I mean, if he hit .235 with 10 HR and went 5-6 with an ERA of 4.75, he’s still doing what no one else does, right? I like Ohtani. He’s a great player. But if he and Mike Trout (who finished 8th for the MVP this year) could not lift the Angels to sniffing distance of Houston, then how valuable were they? And Ohtani did have Trout. No other Yankee besides Judge got even so much as a tenth place vote this year.

The voters got it right. Judge got 28 of the 30 first-place votes, easily beating out Ohtani for the award., with the other two first place votes going to Ohtani. Judge led the majors in 8 different categories, and the AL in another, many by wide margins. He hit 16 more HR than the next best guy. His total bases were some 80 or so above the next best guy. His OPS+ of 211, well, it’s rare when someone is over 200. And as for those who think Judge was all HR, he almost won the Triple Crown, hitting .311. He stole 16 bases in 19 attempts, a ratio better than Ohtani’s, who was only 11 for 20. He made ZERO errors despite switching back and forth between CF (78 games) and RF (73 games). That switching back and forth may have cost Judge a deserved Gold Glove but may have made him more valuable. Ohtani may be a good fielder. But we don’t really know because when he isn’t pitching, Ohtani doesn’t play the field. He DH’s, a luxury the Babe never had.

With his MVP award joining his 2017 Rookie of the Year Award, Judge becomes only the second Yankee to win both awards, the other being Thurman Munson (1970 ROY and 1976 MVP). The ROY was first given out in 1947, which explains why Joe DiMaggio isn’t on that list.

Ohtani is a great player. But 2022 was Judge’s year, and the voters got it right.

The Yankees have made a new offer to Judge. There are no details. We can only imagine what it is. But hopefully a deal is done soon, and the newest Yankees’ MVP remains in the Bronx. Many years from now, we hope #99 joins numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 (twice), 9, 10, 15, 16, 20, 21, 23, 32, 37, 42, 44, 46, 49 and 51 in Monument Park.

Two unanimous CYA winners first time since 1968. Cortes 8th, Cole 9th. MVPs announced tonight.

For the first time since 1968 (Gibson and McLain) both CYA winners were unanimous winners of the award.

In the NL Sandy Alcantara became the first Marlin to cop the honor.

In the AL Justin Verlander won his third CYA, adding to his HOF resume. For Verlander, very impressive given his age (39) and coming off TJ surgery.

The Yankees’ Nestor Cortes got three fifth-place votes and finished eighth in the voting. Gerrit Cole got one fifth place vote and finished ninth. We keep wondering when Cole might win the award himself. He has finished second twice, losing out to Verlander in 2019.

The MVP awards will be announced tonight and here is hoping Aaron Judge beats out Shohei Ohtani for the award.

Jack Reed passes away at age 89. Only HR of career won longest-ever Yankees’ game.

The longest game in Yankees’ history occurred on June 24, 1962, at Tiger Stadium, when the Yankees beat the Detroit Tigers, 9-7, in 22 innings. Jack Reed, a backup outfielder who was mostly known as a defensive replacement for Mickey Mantle in order to save Mantle’s legs, hit a 2-run homer in the top of the 22nd inning to win the game.

It was the ONLY home run of Reed’s career.

Reed passed away at the age of 89 last week on November 10.

He threw and batted right-handed and played in the majors for the Yankees from 1961-1963. In 222 major league games, he only got 129 at bats, and was known as “Mantle’s caddy” or “Mickey Mantle’s legs”. For his career, he hit .233 with that one HR and 6 RBI.

In those three seasons, Reed was on two WS champions (1961 and 1962) and an AL pennant winner (1963). He got into three WS games in 1961, not getting any at bats. Although on the WS roster, he didn’t get into any WS games in 1962 or 1963.

Rizzo Returns; 40-man roster set; Awards season

Nobody steals the Rizz. Anthony Rizzo, who turned down the Yankees’ qualifying offer to become a free agent, returned to the Yankees, agreeing to a deal that will pay him $34MM over two years. The third year is a team option of another $17MM, with a $6MM buyout, so Rizzo is guaranteed $40MM over the next two years.

The Yankees lost Stephen Ridings to the Mets in waivers. Ridings didn’t pitch in 2022 due to injury. He pitched five innings for the Yanks in 2021.

The Yanks set their 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 draft. Some youngsters, especially pitchers, were protected. Here it is.

Pitchers:
Abreu
Jhony Brito #24 prospect.
Cole
Jimmy Cordero
Cortes
Effross (will miss all of 2023 season, TJ Surgery)
Deivi Garcia (has pitched poorly in minors last two seasons) #26 prospect
German
Luis Gil (coming off TJ surgery, will miss most of 2023)
Yoendrys Gomez #12 prospect
Holmes
King (saw a video of him throwing. Good sign).
Matt Krook
Loaisiga
Luetge
Marinaccio
Montas
Peralta
Schmidt
Severino
Trivino
Randy Vasquez #16 prospect
Weissert

Catchers
Higashioka
Rortvedt
Trevino

Infielders
Cabrera
Donaldson
Kiner-Falefa
LeMahieu
Peraza
Rizzo
Torres

Outfielders
Bader
Florial
Hicks
Pereira #5 prospect
Stanton

Obviously as the Yanks sign free agents (Judge, hopefully) or make deals some people will drop off and be replaced. Free agents obviously are not listed, like Judge, Benintendi, Taillon, Chad Green, Marwin Gonzalez, Miguel Castro, etc. But some youngsters needed to be protected from the Rule 5 draft. Others, like #28 prospect Brandon Lockridge, were not protected and could be claimed. The Rule 5 draft is December 7.

It is awards season. AL ROY: Julio Rodriguez, Seattle. NL ROY Michael Harris, Atlanta. AL MOY: Terry Francona, Indians. NL MOY: Buck Showalter, Mets. For Buck, it’s his fourth Manager of the Year award, all with four different teams, and in four different DECADES (1994 Yankees, 2004 Rangers, 2014 Orioles and 2022 Mets).

Aaron Boone finished 5th in the voting. Out of 30 votes, he got one second place vote (3 points) and one 3rd place vote (1 point) for a total of 4 points.

The CYAs will be announced tonight and the MVPs tomorrow evening.


Trevino wins Platinum Glove.

Besides his Gold Glove for best defensive catcher in the league, Jose Trevino has won the Platinum Glove as best defender in the AL period.

One thing I read that worries me a bit. Justin Verlander apparently was quoted as saying that the Yankees are dinosaurs when it comes to free agency. That they are behind the curve. I guess he means that there are new methods to it and that the Yanks are stuck in the 1977 or 2009 times? I don’t know. But a disturbing read nonetheless.

Free agency begins. Some Yankees moves.

From Major League Baseball Trade Rumors.com

The Yankees announced they’ve selected pitchers Jhony Brito and Matt Krook onto the 40-man roster. New York also outrighted outfielder Tim Locastro off the roster, and the speedster elected minor league free agency upon clearing waivers.

Both Brito and Krook have played seven seasons in the minor leagues. That’d have given the right to elect free agency this evening if the Yankees didn’t place them on the 40-man roster. New York clearly values both enough to keep them from hitting the open market, with each player cracking a 40-man for the first time.

Brito, 25 in February, is a former amateur signee out of the Dominican Republic. He’s a quality strike-thrower, and Baseball America wrote this summer that he could develop into a back-of-the-rotation starter. The righty split this year between Double-A Somerset and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, working to a 2.96 ERA through 112 2/3 combined innings. He only struck out 20% of opponents but had a tiny 7.7% walk rate.

Krook spent the whole year in Scranton, starting 22 of 29 appearances. The University of Oregon product, a fourth-round draftee back in 2016, pitched to a 4.09 ERA over 138 2/3 frames. He had a solid 25.7% strikeout percentage but walked an elevated 12.1% of batters faced. The left-hander is generally regarded by evaluators as a likely future reliever.

Locastro, a 30-year-old outfielder, has seen sporadic action for the Yankees in each of the last two seasons. He appeared in 38 games this year but worked mostly as a late-game entrant based on his speed and defense. Locastro hit .186/.239/.349 in 46 plate appearances this year and is a career .227/.325/.331 hitter. He spent most of the season in Scranton, putting up a .240/.332/.395 line over 47 games.

The Yankees announced that they have added right-hander Jimmy Cordero to their 40-man roster.

Cordero, 31, logged 83 innings of MLB action across the 2018-2020 time frame, putting up a 4.55 ERA in that time. Unfortunately, he required Tommy John surgery in March of 2021, wiping out that entire season. The White Sox outrighted him at the end of that campaign.

He signed a minor league deal with the Yankees for 2022 and was able to return to the mound by June. He eventually made 32 appearances for the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. In 38 2/3 innings, he posted a 2.09 ERA, along with a incredible 31.8% strikeout rate and 51.7% ground ball rate.

Based on that strong showing, he’s earned his way back onto a 40-man roster. He has one option year remaining, which will allow the Yankees to use him as an optionable depth arm in 2023. He has between two and three years of MLB service time, meaning they can keep him around for years to come if he continues to hang onto that roster spot.



Also (and not from MLBTR) the Yanks are reportedly interested in Masataka Yoshida from Japan, who I wrote about a few days ago. Lefty hitting OF. Good bat-to-ball contact. Think Benintendi with more power.

The Yanks offered the qualifying offer to Anthony Rizzo ($19.65MM). We will see if he accepts or wants a little more, like 2 years/$40MM.

To no surprise, Aaron Judge added the Silver Slugger award to his Hank Aaron Award. We wait for all-MLB and MVP awards.